Creamy baked artichoke risotto casserole loaded with artichokes and radicchio, topped with lemon-caper breadcrumbs…for the Food Network #ComfortFoodFeast.
We're back! The Food Network's #FallFest is now done, and we start a new series called #ComfortFoodFeast as we bundle up by the fire for the cold nights of winter.
Risotto is a demanding mistress, but some nights it fits my mood. I add a cup of hot broth to toasted Arborio rice, and relax into a meditation of stirring, attention focused on the rice as I watch it slowly absorb the liquid. I mull over my day, turning over conversations or work problems in my mind, and add another cup of hot broth to the rice. As snow or rain gently falls outside the window, I continue my cooking meditation and witness the rice shapeshift into a creamy, comforting dish. I scoop some out onto a warmed plate and top it with thin shavings of a black truffle and some Parmesan, and pour a glass of Pinot Noir.
The reality is that I frequently multitask dinner on the run. I throw a low-maintenance vegetarian dish of vegetables and grains or legumes together, shove it into the oven to bake while I toss a salad and cook some meat for my husband, and hunt through the refrigerator or garden for side dish ideas. Most nights, it's more gauntlet than meditation.
I gave up on getting super-organized a long time ago, and figured there had to be an easier way of making risotto. I've made it in the slow-cooker with success, and wanted to see if I could bake it in a casserole dish that could be served straight from the oven to the table where everyone could just serve themselves. Thankfully, there is.
This is a fail-safe, low-maintenance, easy way to do all your risotto in the future without sacrificing a bit of trademark creaminess. I dare you to depict a texture difference between this version and the Italian method of coddling the rice.
General Cooking Tips:
- You must use a short-grain rice like Arborio to make risotto. It's a special kind of rice that softens to a creamy stage during cooking in liquid that still maintains a chewy center. Otherwise, it would be like mush. There's arguably a time and place for mush, but this isn't it. Farro could be substituted, but it won't get as creamy on its own without help from additional cheese (IMHO).
- Toasting the rice with the vegetables in the beginning bring up the flavor of the rice, and helps to ensure a chewy texture at the end.
- Be sure to stir after the first 15 minutes for about 20 seconds, and again at the end when the Parmesan and/or Gruyère is added to stimulate the creaminess.
- Scallops, shrimp, and crab are also good partners with risotto, and go better with the artichokes. Or kick up your heels and stir in broiled or grilled lobster tail meat. I typically cook them separate and stir them into the portion allotted to the meat/fish eaters at the table. I eat some fish, but I prefer my risotto straight up vegetarian.
- If you must have meat, fry up some bacon in the beginning, set aside and crumble, and use the bacon grease in place of olive oil to sauté the vegetables and rice. Stir in the bacon crumbles when the cheese is added.
- Nix the Parmesan / Gruyère cheese sauté the breadcrumbs in olive oil instead of butter. Risotto is creamy enough without the cheese, although you may need a little extra broth.
Baked Artichoke Risotto with Radicchio
Breadcrumb Topping (optional)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp capers
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Add the oil to an oven-and-stove-top-safe pot like a Le Creuset and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and shallots, and sauté for 3 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the rice and cook for another 3 - 4 minutes to toast it. Add the radicchio, artichokes, salt and pepper and cook for another minute. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has been absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, cover the pot, and slide it into the oven to cook for 20-25 minutes.
- Add the Parmesan and stir the risotto for 15 - 20 seconds. Cover the pot again and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Stir for another 15 - 20 seconds and serve topped with the basil, optional Gremolata Breadcrumbs and a few shavings of Gruyère Cheese.
Breadcrumb Topping (optional)
- Warm the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the capers - they should sizzle when they hit the oil - and sauté for 1 minute. They should be fragrant.
- Make the Gremolata Breadcrumbs in the same pan with the fried capers.
Now go check out some casserole ideas to warm you up. And don't forget to check out the Food Network #ComfortFoodFeast Pinterest board!
The Cultural Dish: Mediterranean Fish Casserole
The Heritage Cook: Arroz Con Pollo Casserole (Gluten-Free)
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Baked Artichoke Radicchio Risotto with Lemon-Caper Breadcrumbs
Taste with the Eyes: Mini Shrimp and Grits Casseroles
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Lasagne al Forno with Chard & Mushrooms
Red or Green: Pasta “al forno” Casserole with Mushrooms, Peppers & Vegetables
Swing Eats: Pastitsio: A Delicious Greek Pasta Casserole (gluten-free)
Virtually Homemade: Tamale Pie
Weelicious: Chicken Wild Rice Casserole
Haute Apple Pie: Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Domesticate Me: Baked Orzo with Turkey Sausage, Broccolini and Fontina
FN Dish: 5 Hearty Casseroles Ready to Warm You Up